Australians send millions in overseas transfers before holidays

Peter Terlato 20 December 2016 NEWS

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Most popular currency conversions are USD and GBP.

Each year, millions of Australians send money to friends and family across the globe. This year is no exception, with a surge in international transfers ahead of the busy holiday season.

New analysis by shows that in the lead up to Christmas, there has been a 155% year-on-year hike in the number of Australians keen to send money abroad.

More than a quarter (27%) of Aussies sending money internationally are converting to American dollars.

One-fifth (20%) are transferring to British Pounds, while around one in ten switch to the Euro (11%).

A smaller proportion (8%) send money across the Tasman, converting to New Zealand dollars.

A CommBank study found comparable data about where Aussies where sending money overseas, with the United Kingdom being most popular, followed by the United States, China and New Zealand.

Despite this, almost twice as much money ($683 million) is delivered to the US than the UK ($358 million).

One third (33%) of Western Australians send money to the UK, almost one-in-five (19%) Victorians transfer cash to the US, while a similar proportion (22%) of Queenslanders wire money to New Zealand.

Destinations for money transfers vary across the country

Ranking Destination NSW/ACT VIC/TAS QLD WA
#1 UK 19% 16% 25% 33%
#2 US 14% 19% 8% 19%
#3 New Zealand 7% 7% 22% 9%
#4 China 9% 12% 9% 4%
#5 Philippines 4% 7% 11% 5%
#6 Canada 2% 7% 4% 0%
#7 India 4% 10% 4% 5%
#8 Thailand 4% 7% 4% 0%
#9 Japan 6% 3% 0% 5%
#10 Malaysia 6% 2% 0% 4%

2.4 million Aussies make international transfers each year, with one-in-five sending $2,000+ annually.

It makes financial sense to transfer larger sums, rather than smaller separate transactions, as many transfer providers offer more competitive rates and lower fees for bigger amounts.

Reviewing the average amount of USD returned for AUD$5,000, including all fees and charges,'s analysis found the most cost-effective way to send money overseas was via online money transfer providers. These companies were, on average, $145 cheaper than the big four banks.

Big four versus specialist transfer providers

International Money Transfer Company $AU5000 equivalent
Westpac US $3,481
Commbank US $3,467
NAB US $3,507
ANZ US $3,568
Average US $3,506
Currency Fair US $3,670
Ozforex US $3,647
WorldFirst US $3,667
TorFX US $3,620
Average US $3,651

Looking to save money on foreign exchange? Compare products and providers, while receiving tips and insights using our comprehensive guide.

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